It’s been almost 4 weeks since I began talking about my compulsive overeating feelings via podcast to see if that would help moderate my binge behavior. Until yesterday, I’ve been eating the same two meals each day for breakfast and lunch and using frozen dinners, ala Amy’s Kitchen and Lean Cuisine, for portion control, but also because I didn’t know if I was ready to go back to cooking.
I am a big-time foodie and love to cook — especially with a fine class of wine in my hand. It ranks as one of my top pleasures. Oddly, I don’t usually display compulsive overeating behavior when I’ve taken the time to prepare a delicious, well-cooked meal, but that glass of wine can sure cause havoc with my judgement. Another challenge when tracking calories, is the automatic “pop food in mouth” behavior that occurs while cooking. It is possible to have almost a serving while preparing ingredients. Case in point, Gruyère cheese, It pairs incredibly well with an oak aged Chardonnay and it is incredibly easy to pop slices of that devilish temptation down the hatch while refilling my glass at the counter. That bypasses my conscious mind and adds many calories to my day.
It isn’t quite compulsive eating, as I do savor the flavor, but it is unconscious, mindless eating that doesn’t serve me. It’s a habit. And if I try to stop the “tasting” due to calories, my raging compulsive brain kicks in with an epic temper tantrum, rolling and screaming in my mind, that beats out any two-year old pitching a fit in public.
This is because I HATE DIETING. I hate feeling controlled, even by myself. How dare I hold myself accountable? I fly back in time to my family locking the ice-cream in the freezer so I couldn’t eat it. (Actually I became one hell of a lock-picker, but that’s a story for another day).
Anyway, my tantrum self stands at the ready as I bring out my ingredients and preheat the oven. It yearns for a glass of wine and some of the fresh french bread and cheese. The food memory causes me to salivate and wonder if it’s too soon for cooking. But then I take a deep breath and picture my completed dinner. I can smell the wonderful cheesy, crusty bread, the caramelized onion beckoning from the top of my plate. I imagine my delight at sipping the chardonnay and letting is play over my palette pairing with the earthly, herbaceous notes in my completed and perfectly cooked dish. Heaven.
That dining experience would be way better than the gulps and hurriedly stuffed cheese bites from the counter. I have given up my daily fudge bar to include 4 oz. of wine with dinner. I’ve completed a hike, published a podcast, made my bed and otherwise had a day to be proud of. I deserve to dine tonight. I deserve to eat something I love. I don’t want to go the rest of my life eating Lean Cuisine because I can’t trust myself.
So I pop a hard peppermint candy in my mouth (20 calories that would RUIN the nice chardonnay), finish my dish, pour out 4 oz. of my carefully chosen wine, measured with my shot glass. Sit in front of the TV to watch Game of Thrones and savor every bite, every aroma and every sip of wine. It was really great to cook again.